Sometime around the turn of the millennium, Planet Asia decided that gold chains would be his thing. After collaborating with Evidence on the Bumrush Bros. 12" "Gold Chain Music" in 2000, the Northern CA MC founded an eponymous imprint, came up with the alias King Medallions and brought his bling fetish to full fruition on his Jewelry Box Sessions LPs. Now with his own spin-off crew of like-minded bi-coastal MCs, Planet Asia and company are free to explore the possibilities of gold-as-way-of-life over a lengthy LP. And despite the album's obvious thematic limitations, hardcore hip-hop fans will undoubtedly find plenty to like about Chain of Command. There's thorough street-hop production throughout from unknown beatmakers like Masterkraftsmen, Architech, and Jazimoto as well as established producers. The Alchemist provides the sonic backdrop for one of the record's gems, the eerie slow burner "GCM Meets ALC," Evidence gives the theme song from the Breakfast Club the heavy reverb treatment to surprisingly ill results on "Detention," and Large Professor works a characteristically crisp beat out of a rolling piano line and crisp drum track for "Organic Food." As far as lyrics go, the six-man team flows together with chemistry and, while Planet Asia is undoubtedly the star of the show, his Gold Chain cronies hold their own commendably. West Coast rapper Tristate, in particular, stands out for his penchant for yesteryear hip-hop namedrops. Consider his Cypress Hill-inspired lyrics on album opener "At the End of the Day": "I gotta be real, your sh*t is lame/Get your mugs wet/Jumpin' around my house of pain." Later, on the lusty "Chocolate Honeys," he professes, "Your low-end theory's butter baby." While battle-oriented MC Turbin recalls Smoothe da Hustler's aggressive flows dubbing himself "the Coltrane of the gold chain" on "Pleasure & Pain." The 20-deep track list may seem a bit long but the lyrical onslaught is broken up nicely by a handful of entertaining interludes including one which mimics remarks made by Suge Knight and Snoop at the infamous 1995 Source Awards.
Chain of Command Review
by Matt Rinaldi